We need to remember that the main purpose of Chakra is to make us feel “in the zone” and maximizing our abilities for that task. A Renew state really didn’t provide much aside from making one spell better– it didn’t really augment a “healing role”. (ie. Tank Healing or Raid Healing)Don’t worry- we now have Rapid Renewal which will reduce our GCD on Renew, which will help us blanket the raid easier on fights that will demand it. It also will provide higher teir Holy Tree talents to help us get deeper in the tree without being “forced” to pick up Lightwell, Desperate Prayer, or Spirit of Redemption. On top of that the bonus to Renew has been added to our AOE Healing Chakra, so we will still continue to have that available.
You may have also noticed that the naming convention of Chakra has changed. We will have Chakra: Serenity (activated by Heal) and Chakra: Sanctuary (activated by POH or POM). Simply put, we have two Chakra states: a Direct Healing/Tank Healing State (Chakra: Serenity) and a AOE/Raid Healing State (Chakra: Sanctuary). Which, in hindsight, makes a lot more sense than having a 3rd option for just Renew. In 25-man content, Renew really was part of your raid healing arsenal. (Also, note that Renew gains a bonus while in your Raid Healing state.) It didn’t make sense to NOT have renew part of Chakra: Sanctuary.
This state now bonuses all your direct heals with an additional 10% crit buff. In addition, your direct heals will refresh the duration of your Renew. This is clearly our tank healing state. Holy Word: Serenity will also become available to you if you are specced properly. However, I do see Serenity being used as an additional/instant heal more than a Crit Buff mechanic — the critical heal bonus is just icing on the cake in the scenarios in which you need an instant heal NOW and then big heals to get your tank back up. That being said, early in Cata, when our Crit will be very low- we can use this mechanic to keep Inspiration up on our tanks.
This is your AOE healing state, and when activated buffs your AOE heals by 15% and reduces your Circle of Healing cooldown by 2 seconds. I am excited that it is now activated, and extended by, casting either Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending. Since POM is instant, it will allow us to cast Sanctuary a lot quicker in situations where we need to activate this Chakra state and pump out the big numbers.
The cooldown on all of our Revelations have been changed. Serenity’s cooldown is baseline 15 seconds and talented to 10.5 seconds, while Sanctuary is baseline 40 seconds and talented to 28 seconds. Serenity is a nice additional spell to have in your tank healing toolbox, and is implemented well. I think Sanctuary’s cooldown is a bit too long (even considering the Circle will last 18 seconds) I’d like to see it talented down to a 20 second cooldown.
Additionally, Holy Word: Chastise/ Serenity/ Sanctuary all have a dynamically changing spell icon making it a bit easier to tell which spell you have available to you.
Remember Chakra on Beta has no mana cost and is on a 30 second cooldown. This will enable us to have a good deal of “on the fly” flexibility. This is really done in one of two ways.
1. Pre-emptive Stance Changing – This method of Chakra State changing, requires you to simply know the fight in advance and be ready to swap stances prior to it being needed. If you know the boss encounter, you might know that you’ll need to step up your raid healing, because the boss is about to do Superdeluxe Raid Damage Ability X. In the moments before, you can typically prepare for the incoming raid damage and swap Chakra states.
2. Reactive Stance Changing – Changing your state as a result of something happening and you need to react and you need to switch stances. (eg. Big unexpected raid damage, or additional tank healing needed). State of Mind plays a huge role in Reactive Stance Changing, because it allows you to maintain your initial Chakra state but also allows you to free up your Chakra cooldown. Having the cooldown available will enable you to swap to the state you need to be in immediately, without having to wait for the CD to come back up.
For example, you may be assigned to raid healing and you have been able to extend your Sanctuary state via POH’s and POMs… suddenly, one of your MT healers DC’s or dies. Since you’ve been able to extend Chakra: Sanctuary, your Chakra CD is up and you can swap to tank healing by switching to Chakra: Serenity.
To be fair, Chakra does have a learning curve and I think many priests (myself included) will need some time to fully be comfortable with it. I still have reservations about the fact that Chakra still has a timer– managing that timer is a bit irritating since Priests already have a lot of procs and CD’s to keep our eyes on.
At its core, Chakra is a great way for Holy Priests to retain a great deal of flexibility, be able to supplement our heals with some added oomph, and we also gain access to new spells— on demand!